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Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy

What is fine-needle aspiration biopsy?
Why would a doctor recommend fine-needle aspiration biopsy?
What does fine-needle aspiration biopsy involve?
How long is the recovery after fine-needle aspiration biopsy?

What is fine-needle aspiration biopsy?

In fine-needle aspiration biopsy, a doctor uses a small needle to remove a sample of cells from a thyroid nodule (a lump or growth on the thyroid gland). The sample is then sent to a lab to determine whether the nodule is malignant (cancerous).

Why would a doctor recommend fine-needle aspiration biopsy?

A doctor may order fine-needle aspiration biopsy to tell if a thyroid nodule is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The procedure is almost completely accurate in diagnosing a malignancy. It can eliminate the need for other tests, such as ultrasound or a thyroid scan.

What does fine-needle aspiration biopsy involve?

The procedure only takes about 20 minutes, and can be done in your doctor's office. He or she will insert a thin needle (smaller than ones used to draw blood) into your neck and into the thyroid nodule. In some cases, the doctor may use ultrasound to guide the needle. With the needle, the doctor will remove several samples of cells. These cell samples are then evaluated under a microscope by a pathologist.

Only a small percentage of nodules turn out to be malignant (cancerous).

How long is the recovery after fine-needle aspiration biopsy?

You may return home after the test and resume your normal activities.

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